Hi, my name is Stephanie Obi, and I’m an Ankara Accessories Ninja, who wants to change the world

How I became an Ankara Accessories Ninja

I used to make bead and chain necklaces, but I got tired of making them and I wanted to do something new, something fresh, something I had not seen before.

So I thought of making t-shirts and putting Ankara on them. It seemed like a great idea, so I delved into the world of t-shirts. I learnt so much about making t-shirts and after fighting so many challenges, I finally had a line of t-shirts. One of my t-shirts was very plain, so I added an Ankara brooch to make it look fab.

I took my new line of Ankara tees to an exhibition, and people kept asking me if they could buy only the brooch on the t-shirt. I said no, because the t-shirt would be plain without it, but the next time I went for the exhibition, I made a lot of brooches to sell individually.

And I sold out!

I was shocked! My t-shirts were still hanging on the rack, and everybody was buying my accessories like it was hot bread.

The brooch that started it all

People started asking me to make earrings, necklaces, bangles, etc and so I started trying out new things. I experimented a lot, went round numerous markets in search of interesting materials to use, got feedback from my customers, and before I knew it, I was making Ankara Accessories in my sleep. Lol

Sometime in 2012, I decided to start teaching other young ladies how to make Ankara Accessories, and soon enough, I started getting requests from all over the world from people who wanted to learn how to make these accessories but were not living in the same city I live in.

I decided to create this school, so that anybody who is interested in this craft, can learn how to make these accessories irrespective of where they live or how busy their schedules are

How I want to change the world

I believe that you have a tool within you that you can use to create a life you love and change the world.

This tool is your creativity, and I want to help you discover it because creativity can help you solve problems in new ways which can open you up to a lot of opportunities.

However creativity is like a muscle. If you don't use it, it will go to bed, but the good news is that you can wake it up.

I am here to help you to discover your creativity so that you can create something the world will be happy to have.

Cool things I've done

Creative Lives Program

This was a 3 months program organized by British Council in 2010 to give young creative entrepreneurs some business training. At the graduation ceremony, the guest speaker was TY Bello. I just blown away. She is a very successful and multi-talented entrepreneur, plus I like her hair. Lol

MBA

After I attended the Creative Lives Program, I wanted to learn more about businesses, and I decided to go back to school for the MBA. After 2 years of reading and hanging out with some smart ass people, I got to wear this sexy black cap

Developed an online business model

I was part of the first African Markets Internship Program organized by the Tony Elumelu Foundation to send MBA students from top business schools in the world to small businesses in Africa to solve certain business problems. I worked with a publishing company and developed an online business model for them. I also met Micheal Porter, the Father of Competitive Strategy. He gave me an autographed book...I was so excited, I was doing plenty back flips...(in my mind) Lol

Designed a solution to end poverty housing

I was part of the team that represented my school at the Hult Case Challenge in London. We developed a solution to end poverty housing in 3rd world countries

Taught entrepreneurship

I was the Vice President of Women Leading Change, and in one of our programs, I taught some young secondary school children about entrepreneurship. 

Got featured in Genevieve Magazine

Some time in 2011, one lady called me and said Genevieve Magazine wanted to feature some of my products. Just like that! ST Colours necklaces got featured. I really liked the way they styled the necklaces. I could not even believe it. It was so nice...now that I think of it, I should have framed the page. Lol

Attended Entrepreneurs in Handcraft Training

Someone described this program as the MBA for handcraft businesses. I agree. It was organized by Vital Voices and Wimbiz. We learnt about how to design products, access the international market, get funding, etc

 

Taken pictures with random people

I attended one Lagos Carnival, and I just posed for pictures with some people I saw posing. Lol. Totally random

Won an award from Standard Chartered Bank's Dragon's Den

I got nominated to present my business to a group of business leaders. This event was organized by Standard Chartered Bank's Network of Women. I won the first runner up award and got a cash prize for my business. Hehehehehe. Don't ask me where your share is oh, the money is for ST Colours

Changed careers

Once upon a time, I was a banker, then an engineer. Now I'm a marketing expert/entrepreneur/teacher/business strategist. The only industry left for me to explore is Nollywood...and I'm not even joking, stop laughing. Lol

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